P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Rain damages wheat produce
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Hamira (Kapurthala), April 27
III-preparedness on the part of the government to deal with rain at the time of arrival of wheat is resulting in damage to the crop in grain markets of the district.

The worst hit are mandis that do not have cemented floors and a shed atop. Piles of wheat sacks procured by the government that have been lying stacked in markets get wet every time it rains.

Even after today’s moderate rainfall, sacks of grain could be seen lying in pools of water in three mandis of Hamira village that fall on the Amritsar road. While plastic covers had been used to safeguard the grain, the wheat bags that formed the lower layers of the stacks got damaged due to the showers.

Nearly 4,000 sacks of the grain, containing 50 kg of wheat each, were lying in these mandis. The mandis received produce from Hamira, Dogranwal, Dyalpur, Lakhanke pade, Banurwal, Dhirpur, Manar, Mana Talwandi, Lakhan Khurd, Lakhan Kalan and Lakhan Khole villages.

Labourers working in the mandis said while the loss incurred today was not much, the downpour on Monday had proved to be disastrous as plastic covers were not able to withstand the pressure of the wind that accompanied the rain, thereby also making the sacks on the upper layers wet.

Bhajan Singh a farmer, said since the entrance to the grain markets had been marshy since Monday’s rainfall, most farmers were now taking their produce to other mandis that fell nearly 10 km away. He rued that nothing was being done to improve the infrastructure of the mandis at the village that had been lying in shoddy condition for the past many years.

The situation in mandis at Begowal and Chowk Bajaj, which have muddy floors, is reportedly dismal.

While villagers blame it on the Mandi Board, officers claim that the panchayats of Hamira and Chowk Bajaj and the Nagar Panchayat of Begowal had not given them acquisition of land, and therefore they could not make any arrangements for improving the infrastructure.

Mr Sarabjit Singh Atwal, District Mandi Officer, Kapurthala, admitted that there had been some loss, but he was yet to assess it as he was in Chandigarh today.

Mr Jagdish Singh Sanghera, Deputy General Manager (Marketing), said the board had earlier decided not to allow purchase in mandis that did not have cemented floors. But it had to be done finally for the convenience of farmers. He said he had directed them all to buy at least 20 plastic covers to prevent damage to the produce. He said he took a round of mandis in Tarn Taran today and found that there had been some losses.

Meanwhile, a report said rain and hailstorm lashed Amritsar city this morning, which lasted for about an hour. However, light showers continued for several hours.


Hailstorm ruins cotton crop in Malwa
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 27
Hailstorm coupled with heavy showers today ruined Bt cotton crop in the Malwa region. While wheat kept at purchase centres got fully drenched, yet-to-be-harvested crop was also damaged.

Farmers in the cotton belt were taken aback by the sudden downpour that lashed the region resulting in a major loss to those who had just sown the cotton crop. Sources said cotton was already sown in about 20,000 hectares, while the Agriculture Department had fixed a target of 1.55 lakh hectares. Bt cotton would be sown in about 55 per cent of the area and farmers were shelling out Rs 3,400 per acre on sowing.

A number of villages in Talwandi Sabo were also lashed by rain. In many villages, there has been a lot of waterlogging on agricultural land owing to which the farmers may have to sow their crop again. Naib Singh of Kotbhara village rued that he had sown costly cotton seeds on his five acres and it was all swept away by water.

Nachhatar Singh of the same village also suffered losses, as rain ruined his standing wheat crop. Hailstorm also struck Kotbhara, Kotshamir, Kotfatta, and Ramgarh Bhoondar villages. In Bhikh village, the entire crop of farmers was hit by the hailstorm. Wheat kept in the grain markets had also gone wet. About 4.65 lakh tonnes of wheat has been procured in the district so far.

Sources said this year the harvesting started late and standing wheat crop was still there in a few areas. Now, the harvesting of wheat has got delayed, due to which the sowing of next crop would also be affected. According to agricultural experts, the appropriate time for sowing cotton is between April 15 and May 15, but rain has played spoilsport. Combines have also come to a grinding halt.

The District Agricultural Officer, Mr Jarnail Singh Dhaliwal, said rain had affected the cotton crop and it had to be sown again wherever waterlogging had taken place. He said only 10 per cent cotton was sown in the district.


Opponents may try to get Lambi seat reserved
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister, will have to opt for another constituency in the next Assembly elections. Lehragaga, from where she won last time, does not figure in the proposed list prepared by the Delimitation Commission. Instead of Lehragaga, Moonak has been proposed as the new constituency. Mrs Bhattal may shift to that constituency next time.

The Dirba constituency, which has always remained a bone of contention between the Barnala and Dhindsa factions, has been proposed as a reserved constituency in the list. Sunam, from where Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and his son had contested in the past, is intact in the proposed list.

For Capt Kanwaljit Singh, who was elected from the Banur constituency last time, there will be a lot of choice this time. Another constituency — Dera Bassi- has been created by bifurcating the Banur constituency in the proposed list. He can contest now from any of the two. The Amloh constituency, which has been de-reserved in the proposed list, also suits Capt Kanwaljit Singh as his native village falls in that area.

The Bassi Pathana constituency, that suits Mr Simranjit Singh Mann and his son, figures as reserved in the proposed list. His son, who contested last time, may have to shift to Fatehgarh Sahib, a new proposed constituency.

Lambi, from where Mr Parkash Singh Badal was elected last time, has not been reserved in the proposed list. In this constituency, the Scheduled Castes population is 40.50 per cent. Instead of Lambi, Malout, which is already a reserved constituency, again figures in the same category (reserved) in the proposed list. In Malout, the Scheduled Castes population is 40.62 per cent, slightly more than in the Lambi constituency.

However, there are confirmed reports that political parties opposed to Mr Badal will make a full-blooded attempt to get the Lambi constituency reserved this time instead of Malout, which has remained reserved for over two decades. Already, the CPI has urged the commission to de-reserve all those constituencies which are reserved at present. It will be against natural justice to keep the existing reserved constituencies in the same category for the next two decades.

The Delimitation Commission has been set up after a gap of about 20 years. The next one is to be set up in 2025. And if Lambi is reserved, Mr Badal will have to either shift to Malout or Muktsar. Gidderbaha also suits Mr Badal, but from that constituency his nephew, Mr Manpreet Badal had contested three Assembly elections successfully. Obviously, Mr Manpreet Badal would like to retain a constituency where he has established his base.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s Patiala constituency remains intact in the proposed list. However, Dakala, from where Mr Harmel Singh Tohra, son-in-law of Gurcharan Singh Tohra, used to contest, has been abolished in the proposed list. A new Sanour constituency has been proposed in place of Dakala. And in place of Ghanur, a new Kasba constituency has been proposed. Sanour suits Mr Lal Singh, Irrigation and Power Minister, who was elected last time from Dakala which used to be his choice in earlier elections also.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh has also a choice — either SAS Nagar or Kharar. Earlier, he faced a lot of political problems when he got the party ticket from Kharar.


Permissions for kidney transplants not forthcoming
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
Between 2000 and November, 2002, as many as 1922 kidney transplant operations were performed at Amritsar, most of them at Kakkar Hospital where Dr P.K. Sareen, the prime accused in the infamous kidney transplant scam, was the transplant surgeon.

But since then, a very few transplants have been given the go-ahead by the Punjab Government’s Authorisation Committee which sanctions donation of kidney by a healthy person to a kidney patient, particularly if the donor and the donee are not related to each other.

Government sources say that scores of requests for grant of permission for kidney transplant have been turned down by the authorization committee since the unearthing of the scam.

This approach is due to fear of victimisation and extreme caution.

Following the unearthing of the scam, Dr Sareen was not the only one to be arrested by the Special Investigative team constituted by the Punjab Police. Dr O.P. Mahajan, the then Principal of Government Medical College and Chairman of the Authorisation Committee, and some members of the committee were also arrested.

“What can we do? We have to be very cautious. Tomorrow, a decision taken by us in good faith could turn out to be wrong,” says Dr J.S. Dalal, present Chairman of the Authorisation Committee.

However, so cautious is the authorisation committee that even in those cases where the district police chiefs ruled out payment of money to the donor, the committee refused to give permission.

Probably understanding the dilemma that the authorisation committee faced while deciding such applications, Mr Sarvesh Kaushal, the previous Secretary, Medical Education and Research, wrote to the Chief Secretary, seeking his intervention in the matter.

Seeking modifications in the rules that govern kidney and other organ transplantations, Mr Kaushal also wrote that by refusing permission for kidney transplants, the government was in effect signing the death warrants of the patients.

“After the scam, we became too cautious. This led to the situation where even genuine cases were not been allowed. I felt that something much be done to break the impasse,” Mr Kaushal, who is presently on long leave, told The Tribune.

Incidentally, in at least four cases, the Secretary, Medical Education and Research, Punjab, who is the appellate authority in such cases, set aside the decision of the authorisation committee and allowed transplants to take place.

Even the Punjab and Haryana High Court has been aware of the situation. During a case relating to the grant of permission for carrying out kidney transplant, a Bench headed by Mr Justice H.S. Bedi noted, “It is apparent that the authorisation committee as well as the appellate authority have been influenced by the suspicious atmosphere which had been created on account of some irregularities in kidney transplantation in the past. However, the result of the aforesaid suspicious atmosphere cannot be allowed to become a dead wall for seriously ill patient.”


Robbery: 2 women cops accused of conspiracy
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 27
How protectors of law sometimes turn criminals was proved by two women constables who were allegedly found involved in a daylight robbery in which three armed youths entered a woman’s house in the guise of electric meter readers in the afternoon on April 12 and robbed her of Rs 1 lakh and gold ornaments.

Constables Manjit Kaur and Harjinder Kaur, posted at Central Jail here and had befriended businesswoman Ms Kamal Moti before hatching a conspiracy were still at large while their five accomplices have been arrested by the police today.

The police stumbled upon stunning information that two woman constables were also involved in the crime when, on a secret information Nakodar DSP Rajit Singh arrested five members of a 10-member gang of criminals from Kutiya Pandori village near Nakodar while they were planning to commit a robbery.

The accused have been identified as Gurdev Singh Gogi of Bajooha Khurd village, Harnek Singh Kala of Dherian village, Nasib Chand Pamma of Bhungarni village in Hoshiarpur district and Kulwinder Kaur Simro of the Lamma Pind locality of Jalandhar, while Tirath of Kotla village and Sunny of Pandori village managed to flee. Search of the accused led to the recovery of two motor cycles, two pistols with ammunition, two “Datars”, a mobile phone and some gold ornaments.

Mr S.K Asthana, SSP, said the preliminary interrogation of the accused revealed that gold ornaments recovered from them were part of gold ornaments looted from Ms Kamal Moti’s house on April 12.

In the backdrop, a regular interaction of Kulwinder Kaur Simro, who spent six years in Central Jail before being released recently on bail and who had befriended constables Manjit Kaur and Harjinder Kaur in the jail, worked behind the dacoity as the trio also befriended Ms Kamal Moti, who visited the jail to see her son where he was lodged in a bride burning case. Then they started visiting her house and eyeing her wealth.

The constables allegedly hatched the conspiracy to loot Ms Kamal Moti and in their plan they found a willing accomplice in Kulwinder Kaur Simro and contacted Kulwinder Kaur’s paramour Gurdev Gogi for the purpose. Sunny and Billu had posed as meter readers and Tirath had followed them in the house to help them overpower Ms Moti and two persons who had come to her rescue after she had raised an alarm.

Gang members Tirath and Harnek Kala had also robbed Rs 1 lakh and mobile phone cash cards worth Rs 68,000 from Mr Anu, an employee of a mobile phone dealer, while he was returning from Jandiala by showing him a “Datar”.

Mr Asthana said efforts were being made to arrest the two constables and other members of the gang.


NRI collects Rs 20 lakh for cancer, AIDS
Tribune News Service

Chairman of the India Association, UK, B.S. Grewal, who had undertaken 4,000-km-long walk from Amritsar to Kanyakumari, shares his experiences with mediapersons in Jalandhar on Wednesday.
Chairman of the India Association, UK, B.S. Grewal, who had undertaken 4,000-km-long walk from Amritsar to Kanyakumari, shares his experiences with mediapersons in Jalandhar on Wednesday. — A Tribune photograph

Jalandhar, April 27
“Walking for over 4,000 km from Amritsar to Kanyakumari is a mind-boggling and near-spiritual experience for me and my team members.”

This was stated by Mr B.S. Grewal, an NRI and the Chairman of the UK-based India Association, who has completed his walk to raise money for cancer and AIDS research.

While, Mr Grewal managed to collect about Rs 20 lakh during his five-month long walk which began from the Golden Temple in Amritsar on November 15 last, he has collected $ 1.20 lakh in the UK.

The walk concluded at Kanyakumari on April 13.

“I was greeted by anxious but smiling people almost everywhere. Though the amount donated by individuals seldom exceeded Rs 200, the humility with which the people approached me was touching. I was, particularly, moved by a couple at Ahmedabad, who went home to fetch a Rs 100 note and then returned on their scooter.

“Only two incidents disheartened me in Mumbai. When we reached Malad in Mumbai the gurdwara caretaker there, slammed the door on us, saying there was no place for anybody in the gurdwara.”

“Similarly, a temple priest in Mumbai said he would allow us to stay only if we paid him Rs 500 to him.”

Mr Grewal, was accompanied by his aide, Mr Anurag Sood, also general secretary of the Hoshiarpur-based Sarb Dharam Sadbhawana Committee, Punjab.

“Kerala seemed to be the ideal place as no house or street was devoid of green trees. Coconut trees made a beautiful backdrop for any visitor and his photographs,” said Mr Grewal.

He said the fund raised by him would be given to only those organisations which had dedicated themselves to eradication of AIDS and cancer from the world.


Lobbying intensifies for post of SAD dist chief
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, April 27
Senior leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in the district have intensified lobbying to stake claim over the post of district president. Out of 17 districts in the state, Ropar is among the three where the president of the SAD has not appointed the district president so far. Sources in the party revealed that Mr Badal is expected to make the appointment within a week.

Mr Badal has been taking up the matter seriously, as following differences among leaders, the SAD had failed to get the desired results in the last Assembly and SGPC elections in the district, the sources said. Out of the five Assembly seats, the SAD has won only one seat. Similarly in the SGPC elections, the SAD, had managed to win only one seat.

The reason for the delay in the appointment of the new party president has been attributed to differences among the local Akali leaders. Last month, a meeting was held at Bhatta Sahib Gurdwara to elect the president, but following different opinions among the leaders, they failed to reach any consensus. Finally, the matter was left with Mr Parkash Singh Badal to appoint the new party president.

Prominent leaders in the race for the post of president include present president Pritam Singh Salomajra, Ujjagr Singh Badali, former minister Tara Singh Ladal, the SGPC member Gurinder Singh Gogi and Dharam Singh Kang.

Sources in the party revealed that Mr Badali, being former president, and having a clean image has his chances bright for the post, while Mr Gogi is believed to be close to Mr Sukhbir Badal and for his hold over the youth of the district. Mr Ladal, being former minister, and having association with Mr Badal is also be considered as front-runner for the post.

The sources also revealed that the party was also considering to appoint a candidate from reserve category for the post of president this time.


CPI for change in status of constituencies
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 27
The Punjab unit of the Communist Party of India (CPI) today said all reserved Assembly constituencies should be placed in the general category at the time or delimitation of the Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies so as to grant reserved status to other constituencies.

Talking to The Tribune today, Dr Joginder Dayal, secretary of the Punjab unit of the CPI, said the CPI would raise this issue through its nominee at the next meeting of the delimitation panel on May 9 at New Delhi.

Dr Dayal said a meeting of the Punjab units of the CPI and the CPM Coordination Committee would be held on April 29 at Chandigarh to discuss the political situation in the state. The meeting would also discuss the state government’s move to privatise government schools, hospitals and other institutions, like the Punjab State Electricity Board and Punjab Roadways.

He said the meeting would chalk out a mass movement programme to oppose the privatisation policies of the government.

He said the state government was running away from its constitutional duty of providing free education to children under 14 years of age.

The Punjab CPI secretary also demanded compensation for farmers whose wheat and other crops had been damaged due to bad weather.


SGPC chief angry over CM’s remarks on ‘kar seva’
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 27
Tempers flared over alleged remarks of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, that Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf should not accord recognition to the SGPC regarding “kar seva” of Sikh shrines in Pakistan.

Stung by the statement, the SGPC President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, today lashed out at the Chief Minister and called him a “traitor”. She asked the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, to restrain the Chief Minister from issuing such provocative statements.

The SGPC President said the Chief Minister had no right to directly request the President of any country and charged him with violating the protocol besides the Constitution. She said the SGPC was an apex body that came into existence to run the management of all historical Sikh shrines in undivided Punjab under the Gurdwara Act of 1925. Hence even after Partition the SGPC was looking after the management of Nanakana Sahib, Panja Sahib, Dera Sahib gurdwaras in Pakistan for the past many years along with the Waqaf Board.

The SGPC President said it seems that an ulterior motive existed in the Chief Minister’s statements given in Delhi. The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee had bestowed “siropa” on him. “The Chief Minister seems to be so obliged that he reportedly favoured the DSGMC for “kar seva” of Sikh shrines in Pakistan and tried to dishonor the SGPC”, she added.

Meanwhile, SAD general secretary Sukhbir Singh Badal said today that the SGPC was an elected representative and highly respected body of Sikhs besides constitutionally empowered to manage the affairs of Sikh shrines in India and abroad. He accused Capt Amarinder Singh of tarnishing the image of the SGPC.


Panel on Ripudaman case

Amritsar, April 27
The SGPC today formed a seven-member committee to look into the issue of Ripudaman Singh being penalised for carrying a kirpan in Denmark. It includes Dr Darshan Singh, Mr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, Mr Malkit Singh Rahi, Justice Kulwant Singh, Mr Darshan Singh, Mr Kirpal Singh and Mr Hardeep Singh Mohali. — OC


Forest Dept wants case against school
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar April 27
While the Punjab Forest Department has urged the police to register a case against the Jalandhar-based Mayor’s World School and a local advertising agency under the Damage to Public Property Act and the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, for putting up a hoarding on trees belonging to the department, the police is still “examining” the case from the legal point of view.

The Punjab Forest Minister, Mr Hans Raj Josan, has already ordered a high-level probe into the issue. A huge advertisement board of the school was found mounted on trees of the Forest Department near Madarn village. Some trees were felled near Chuharwali village. A story in this regard was carried by The Tribune.

The school management, it is learnt, is taking the plea that it has nothing to do with the installation of boards on forest trees as it had given the “advertisement contract” to a local agency.

In a memo, the Forest Block Officer, Jalandhar, has urged the SHO of the Adampur police station that a case be registered against the school and a Jalandhar-based agency for offences under Sections 2 and 3-A of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, Section 64 of the Damage to the Public Property Act and Sections 32 and 33 of the Indian Forest Act.

The Block Forest Officer has also mentioned that he, along with a forest guard, had gone to Madaran village to remove and seize the hoarding, but on reaching there had found that it had been removed and placed near a “Dhaba” on the Jalandhar-Hoshiarpur road.

Interestingly, the Forest Block Officer had lodged his complaint with the Adampur police station on Monday but the SHO remained unaware about the complaint till Wednesday evening. Mr S.K. Asthana, SSP, said: “I am looking into the matter and the needful will be done.”

Forest Department sources point out that there is no need for its officials to go to the police for registration of a case as they are competent to lodge a “Damage Report”, which was equivalent to FIR, and take the necessary action against offenders.

The amended Forest Conservation Act provided that the Forest Department officials could not only take cognisance of an offence, but, also act on their own.

Going to the police may only delay the matter, they apprehended.


Despite stigma, they help their kids realise dreams
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 27
Alienated from the society due to stigma associated with their disease, they beg in the narrow by-lanes of the city to educate their children and make them one among the “normal human beings”. The dreams of lepers of the local Kusht Ashram are coming true as their children are scripting their success stories and gaining what their parents failed to in their entire life – acceptance by the society.

There are about 80 lepers in the ashram, of which 40 from about 25 families are doing medical and technical courses from Indore, Bhogpur, Kota and Roorkee. These lepers extend monetary aid to their children as much as they can, while some missionary organisations are also helping them. A majority of lepers at this ashram belong to Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Maharashtra. They seek alms door to door. They have also formed a committee and Mr Jagdish Rai is its chief.

Talking to The Tribune, Rai said his daughter, Shanti, is doing MBBS from Indore, while his second daughter, Sunita, is studying at Roorkee. His son has got a job following a technical course from Roorkee. He said some missionary organisations are helping him in educating his children. Bujharat Thakur’s daughter Anita has got a job at CMC, Ludhiana, after her education in Bhogpur.

She has also got married there. Similarly, Jai Ram’s son Sriram and daughters Parvati and Sarasvati are doing graduation from colleges in Kota in Rajasthan. An organisation is bearing their hostel expenses.

Their children come to meet them at the ashram during vacations.

Another leper, Rameshwar is dreaming of sending his son abroad. His son, Dinesh, is studying in Indore. He said the organisation, which is helping in his education, has taken the onus of settling him abroad. Rameshwar visits his son once a year. Shanti Bai ventures out for begging on the city’s streets daily, but wants to change her daughter’s destiny. Her daughter is doing a technical course in New Delhi.

These lepers are content and they always want to stay there. They dream for their children a separate world, where they can achieve loads of success in their lives. While they thank people of Bathinda who always helped them, they are disappointed with the administration. They haven’t received pension for the past seven months and on top of that the Health Department has discontinued the supply of medicines to them.


Dalits to protest in Jalandhar
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 27
The All-India National Minorities and Dalit Front will hold a state-level demonstration at Jalandhar on May 1 in protest against discrimination against Sikhs in France and Dubai, repression of Congress government on Akalis and injustice with people of Punjab, especially the poor, the downtrodden and employees.

This was declared at Gurdwara Akalian, Phagwara, at a function by the front’s national president, Jathedar Seva Singh Sekhwan, a press note said here today.

Mr Harinder Singh Kahlon, general secretary, also spoke.

Jathedar Sekhwan alleged that while France had banned turban in schools, Dubai was creating hurdles in coming up of Sikh shrines. He called Amarinder Singh government a govt of the rich. That was why it was taking the anti-poor steps like privatisation of education, health and power, he said. The decision to hand over 2,000 government schools to private parties was also condemned.

Jathedar Bahadur Singh Sangatpur was appointed the district president of the front. It was also declared that the front’s organisational set up would be revamped within three months at the block and district levels.


Anganwari inmates given fungus-infested food
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 27
A glaring case of supplying fungus-infested biscuits, panjeeri and wheat puff chana to children and pregnant women at the anganwari centres of Bassi Pathana and Sirhind subdivisions has come to light. Various sarpanches accompanied by Mr Gurinder Singh Dhillon, Chairman, Block Samiti Bassi Pathana, handed over the material to the Deputy Commissioner. They alleged that instead of helping the hapless children, the officials were playing havoc with their lives by feeding them with such sub-standard food.

The Deputy Commissioner immediately ordered to stop the supply of this sub-standard food to the anganwari inmates and also ordered chemical examination of the samples of all items. He also directed the Secretary Zila Parishad, who has purchased the material through tenders to immediately stop the payment of the supplier.

While talking to Chandigarh Tribune, sarpanches said at anganwari centres at Mullanpur 312, Kheri Bir Singh, Khalspur, Mehdoodan, Shergarh Bara, Kamali, Jarkhela Kalan and at various other centres, the inmates were supplied fungus-infested chana, murmura, moisturised biscuits and stinking gur patti. They said panjeeri supplied to pregnant women was also stinking and substandard. They said when the children brought the material to their homes it was noticed by their parents and they complained to the CDPO.

The biscuits envelope wears the name of supplier as JVS Foods Pvt. Ltd., Jaipur, and manufacturing date is January 1, 2005.


Physically challenged given mobile PCOs
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 27
In the wake of the Punjab Government’s decision to rehabilitate challenged persons, the District Disability and Rehabilitation Centre (DDRC), Jail Road, provided five mobile STD/PCOs to persons having disabilities, at a function held here today.

The function, which was jointly organised by the DDRC and the Ehsaas Foundation, New Delhi, was presided over by Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh.

Reliance provided the necessary infrastructure for the mobile PCOs, while tricycles were given by the DDRC under the ADIP scheme of the Central Government. The Ehsaas Foundation provided funds for billing machines, batteries, telephone sets and roof structuring for the PCOs which have been designed and fabricated by the DDRC.

Prominent among those present on the occasion were orthopaedic surgeon Dr R.L. Mittal, Mr Pritpal Singh Sidhu, in charge, DDRC, Mr C.M. Bali, secretary of the Red Cross Society, and social worker Vijay Gupta.


Stay away from travel agents, DSP tells residents
Our Correspondent

Kharar, April 27
All efforts will be made to root out crime and maintain law and order in the area.

This was stated by Mr Raj Bachan Singh Sandhu, DSP, who was recently transferred to Kharar, while addressing residents of the town here today. He appealed to the gathering to raise their voice against crime.

He said that residents should go in for verification before keeping new servants and tenants, as most of the crime was committed by persons hailing from other states.

He suggested that people should stay away from travel agents, as in most of the cases those who had approached them had been duped of lakhs of rupees.

Mr Sandhu said that the police would organise camps with the help of social organisations to free youths from the menace of drugs. Such camps would he held at the village level or at the level of wards in towns.


Chatha given Cabinet rank

Chandigarh, April 27
The Chairman of the third Punjab Finance Commission, Mr A.S. Chatha, was today conferred Cabinet rank by the Punjab Governor from the date he took over.

The state government, vide another order, promoted Deputy Director (Local Audit) Saraj Kumar Puri as Examiner, Local Funds Accounts. — TNS


Plan on court complexes to be sent to Centre soon
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
Instead of setting up a building here and a structure there for meeting the growing pressure on judicial complexes in Punjab, the state government will soon submit a detailed plan to the Centre regarding the systematic expansion of courts.

Once constructed under the new plan, the complexes will not require expansion for at least another decade — at least this is what sources in the state’s Department of Home Affairs and Justice are claiming.

They add that the plan for expansion, besides the repair of judicial court complexes in the state, will be submitted to the Centre latest by May-end.

The report is being handed over in response to a communication received by the state government asking it to forward a comprehensive proposal for the next 10 years regarding the condition of judicial complexes in the state and the places where new ones are required to be constructed.

Besides this, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and Justice has also sought details regarding the cost of constructing and repairing the complexes.

The sources add that the state government has initiated the process of identifying places where new judicial complexes are required to be constructed. They claim that as of now the state government has plans of setting up the complexes at Bathinda, Hoshiarpur, Ferozepore and Muktsar, besides several other places.

They say that the development is significant because litigants and lawyers are currently grappling with a crumbling infrastructure in most of the judicial complexes across the state.

In most of the places, the courts, the chambers and other offices are situated at inconvenient distances from one another.

As such, going from one place to another is not only arduous, but also time consuming.

Worse, in a large number of complexes, visitors to these do not even have access to drinking water and toilets.

In fact, there is hardly any place for them to sit down and discuss even judicial matters.

Regarding the work already undertaken by the state government in collaboration with the Centre, the sources say that more than Rs 60 crore was spent till March last year for the construction of judicial complexes at Fatehgarh Sahib, Patiala, Jalandhar, Mansa, Sangrur, Ludhiana and Amritsar.

The complexes, the sources say, were constructed under a centrally sponsored scheme on a 50-50 sharing basis.


61 provided free legal aid
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 27
As many as 61 poor and needy persons have been provided free legal aid in various courts by the Jalandhar District Legal Services Authority during the past three months.

This was stated by Mr Jagroop Singh Mahal, District and Sessions Judge-cum-Chairman of the District Legal Services Authority, who held the quarterly meeting of the authority here yesterday.

Mr Mahal said to resolve pending cases amicably, the authority was organising a Lok Adalat on April 30. He said there was need to publicise utility of free legal aid schemes so that maximum number of people could benefit of the scheme.

Mr K.K. Kareer, Civil Judge (Senior Division), who was also the Secretary of the authority, said the panel of lawyers for providing free legal aid to people has been reconstituted as term of the previous panel had got expired.


2 Mandi Board officials suspended
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 27
The Mandi Board suspended two of its employees and recommended cancellation of licences of nine commission agents in surprise raids conducted here today.

They were found to be overweighing grains and looting farmers. A government spokesman in a press note here today said the board officials raided the grain markets at Mananwala, Jandiala Guru and Bhikhiwind.


Two held on abduction charge
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, April 27
The district police today arrested two persons on the charges of abduction and attempt to murder.

According to the police, the accused, identified as Rajesh Talwar and Ashwini Gupta, whisked away a woman on their motor cycle from near the Dhariwal octroi post this afternoon.

A PCR team got suspicious and started following their vehicle. Sensing trouble, the duo threw the woman from their vehicle and fled.

The woman sustained serious injuries. The accused were later arrested from near Mainwaan village.

A case has been registered.


Dalit woman molested, beaten up
Our Correspondent

Malaudh (Ahmedgarh), April 27
A Dalit woman of Sumel Kheri village was molested and beaten up by an octroi contractor of Malaudh when she resisted his attempt to sexually exploit her. The accused has been arrested after being booked under Section 323, 354, 506, 452 and 120 B of the IPC.

Sukhwinder Kaur, a dalit married women of Sumel Kheri village was allegedly molested and beaten up by Karamjit Singh an octroi contractor at Malaudh nagar panchayat. According to a complaint lodged by victim at Malaudh police station, accused had been trying to exploit Sukhwinder Kaur sexually for a long time. He started coming to her house on one pretext or other and developed relations with her husband.

On Sunday night, he came to her house and told her that her husband had borrowed some money from him, and he would write off the debit if she fulfilled his desires.

On her resistance he molested her. The woman pushed him out of her house and raised the alarm. The residents of the village sent him away from the village. Feeling humiliated, he along with musclemen returned to the village later and forcibly entered her house and beat her up mercilessly.


3 held under Passport Act

Amritsar, April 27
The immigration authorities detained three deported Punjabi youths who alighted from the London-Amritsar Uzbekistan Airlines flight at Raja Sansi International Airport here today.

Official sources said the three were booked and arrested for violation of the Passport Act. They had been deported from London as they did not possess valid travel documents. The Indian authorities had been informed of their deportation. The arrested youths were identified as Balbir Singh of Amritsar, Vishal Talwar of Hoshiarpur and Lahimbar Singh of Jalandhar. — UNI


CMC PG seats: govt to hold counselling on May 1
Maneesh Chibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
The Punjab Government is planning to hold fresh counselling for 50 per cent seats of postgraduate courses of Christian Medical College (CMC), Ludhiana, on May 1.

The counselling will be for filling 28 seats — 22 in the degree course and six in diploma courses. It will be held at Guru Gobind Singh Medical College, Faridkot. According to the schedule for the filling of medical seats released by the Medical Council of India, the first counselling has to be held by April 30.

Senior state government officers say a decision to fill the seats — that the Supreme Court recently allowed the Punjab Government to fill — was taken at a high-level meeting held today.

The Punjab Government and CMC have been at loggerheads over the issue of filling of seats in the graduate as well as postgraduate courses in the institute.

CMC has been maintaining that it has the exclusive right to fill all seats as it is a minority-run institution. Last year, the management of CMC had also decided not to follow the orders of the Justice G.R. Majithia-led Committee for Overseeing the Entrance Test Conducted by the Association of Private Professional Colleges.

The committee had taken away the right to conduct its own admission test from CMC.

A petition is pending in the Supreme Court to decide the issue of whether CMC has the right to fill all seats. Government sources say that the Supreme Court is expected to deliver its judgement soon.

When contacted, Dr J.S. Dalal, Principal, Government Medical College, Amritsar, who is also the Chairman of the Selection Committee for conducting counselling, said that since the Supreme Court, as an interim measure, allowed the Punjab Government to fill 50 per cent of the seats, these would be filled.

Sometime ago, CMC had moved an application in the Supreme Court seeking permission to fill all seats. However, the court allowed it to hold the test and admit only 50 per cent of the students.

Mr John Pramod, acting Director of CMC, told The Tribune that the college had taken the stand that it should be allowed to fill all seats on its own. “We are waiting
for the final judgement,”
he added.


ITI students boycott classes
Tribune News Service

Ropar, April 27
Students of the ITI, Ropar, today boycotted classes and burnt the effigy of the Science and Technology Minister, Mr Rakesh Pandey, in front of the mini secretariat protesting against the move of the government to privatise the ITIs in the state and against the hike in fees.

A member of the Punjab Student Union, Karam Singh, while addressing the students said that the Punjab Government had decided to privatise ITIs and 18 polytechnics in the state as per the resolution passed by it on July 16, 2003. The first step the government had taken was by hiking the fees of students four times. Now it has become difficult for the children of the poor sections of society to get education.

Besides it, students of ITIs did not get any scholarship for the past seven years, over 65 per cent of the teacher’s posts are lying vacant. He said that if the government failed to solve the problems of students, they would intensify their agitation.

Others who addressed the gathering included Jatinder Singh Gill, Jangbir Singh, Davinder Pandey, Harminder Pal Singh, Harjit Kaur, Priyana, Rimi Sharma, Ritu Sharma and Kamaljit Kaur.


National Science Day organised
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 27
The National Science Day-2005 was organised by the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry in collaboration with the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology and the State Bank of Patiala at the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology (TIET) here today.

As many as 12 schools from the region participated in the scientific quiz and working science model competitions which were inaugurated by Dr S.C. Saxena, Director, TIET.

For the quiz competition, the teams were divided into two group with Budha Dal Public School, Sri Aurobindo International School and Modern Senior Secondary School emerging triumphant in one group while teams from YPS, Army School and Multipurpose school were declared winners in the other group.

In the working science model competition, the winners were Multipurpose School, Budha Dal Public School, and Sri Aurobindo International school.


PAU don gets award
Tribune News service

Ludhiana, April 27
Dr Baldev Singh Sohal, Professor of Biochemistry, Punjab Agricultural University, has been conferred on “Meritorious Teacher Award” for 2002-03 in recognition of his outstanding services in the field of teaching, research, sports and extra-curricular activities. The award, which carries a citation and cash prize of Rs 2500, was conferred on him during annual convocation of the university organised recently.

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